UK chief rabbi thanks King Charles for coronation sleepover at palace

Ephraim Mirvis tweets gratitude to British royals who put him and his wife up for the night at St. James Palace, enabling Orthodox cleric to walk to Shabbat ceremony

Britain's King Charles III departs Westminster Abbey after his coronation ceremony in London, May 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Britain's King Charles III departs Westminster Abbey after his coronation ceremony in London, May 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on Sunday thanked King Charles III for putting him and his wife up for the night at St. James’s Palace, enabling the cleric to attend the coronation ceremony the day before.

“What an extraordinary Shabbat this has been and what a privilege it was for me to be in attendance for the coronation of our King. Valerie and I are indebted to our gracious hosts, the King and Queen, who enabled us to stay in a royal palace over Shabbat so that I could be at the coronation,” Mirvis said in a video statement.

“We wish the King and Queen all the very best for a healthy, long and successful reign. God save the King!” the rabbi said.

Mirvis was invited to the landmark event at Westminster Abby but faced a problem of how to get there on Shabbat, when he could not use motorized transportation.

King Charles III solved the problem by inviting the rabbi and his wife Valerie to spend the night at St. James’s Palace, within walking distance of the abbey.

A kosher caterer was brought in to prepare their Friday night dinner of coronation chicken, Mirvis told Sky News ahead of the coronation.

On Friday, Mirvis praised the “respectful, sensitive” way that Charles’s office had handled the situation.

After the Christian service, the chief rabbi joined British Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist leaders in making a spoken declaration in unison toward their newly crowned monarch.

The unprecedented joint statement from the religious leaders read: “Your Majesty, as neighbors in faith, we acknowledge the value of public service.

“We unite with people of all faiths and beliefs in thanksgiving, and in service with you for the common good.”

Britain’s King Charles III meets Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis during a reception with faith leaders at Buckingham Palace in London on September 16, 2022, following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on September 8. (Aaron Chown / AFP)

While the other leaders used a microphone, arrangements were made so that Mirvis’s voice would not be amplified, also in keeping with Shabbat.

On Saturday night, Mirvis tweeted a video of him and his wife performing the traditional Havdalah ceremony at the palace to mark the end of Shabbat.

Mirvis had consulted with judges from Britain’s Beth Din Jewish court who agreed it was permissible for him to enter a Christian church on the Sabbath, out of respect for an invitation from the sovereign.

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